Keep Your Children Safe Online
The Internet is a valuable tool that your child must eventually learn how to use, but it presents some danger, such as being exposed to cybercriminals. Teaching your child about Internet safety could help them make smart decisions while they are online.
Cybercriminals do not necessarily target children, but to increase the chances of succeeding in their deceit, they set up their intricate ploys where many people are. Popular websites, mobile app stores, gaming downloads, and social networks are not completely free of cybercrime.
The objectives of cybercrimes range from getting their victims to download software that steals personal information, spies on what they are doing, or takes over their system to take down a website or deliver spam.
Talking to your child regularly and openly is a great way to keep them safe online. It may be helpful to initiate a family discussion to set limitations and agree on what is appropriate.
Moreover, it may be necessary to have a more specific conversation about a website or an app that your child would want to use or you are worried about.
Explore Websites and Apps Together
Ask your child about the websites or apps that they like. Create a list and explore them together. Talk about what may be okay to visit for children of different ages.
Be positive about the things you see, but be honest as well about the concerns you have. Tell them straight if you think that the site or app is good or if you are worried about what you see.
Talk to them about things that are appropriate in your opinion, but also get them involved in the discussion. Ask what they believe is okay for children in their age.
Your child may talk about their friends who visit sites or use apps that you have decided not to be appropriate. Be prepared to tell them your reasons, but also understand that they might disagree. Listen carefully and consider their reasoning.
Make a final list of the websites you both agree are suitable and plan when you will discuss them again.
Staying Safe in Social Networks
Make sure that your child knows the following:
- Reporting functions
- How to keep information private
- How to block someone
Online privacy is an important topic that you should open up. Explain that their online behavior must reflect their behavior in person.
It is not always "bad" for them to talk to strangers, but they must be careful about the information that they share because some people are not really who they say they are.
Discuss the Things That Make Them Feel Uncomfortable
There are some things that can make your child feel uncomfortable. The following are some ways on how to talk to them about it:
- Be specific - ask them what they find uncomfortable and why.
- Connect these things to the real world and tell them you are always there to help them not just online, but also offline.
- Make sure that your child knows that they can ask you and seek advice about anything, especially about the things they find uncomfortable.
- Teach them how to use the block or report functions on the apps and sites that they use.
- Tell your child that you will help them deal with cyber bullying and report the things that they may find offensive.
Discuss the Things That They Can and Cannot Share Online
Teach your child about "personal information," such as full name, address, email address, phone number, etc. and why they are important. Explain some ways on how to protect their privacy, such as avoiding passwords like birthdates or locations that reveal too much information.
Talk to them about photos and images, and what may be suitable. Make them understand how pictures can give them a sense of their personality and that sharing an inappropriate kind of photo can give others the wrong impression.
Tell your child not to share personal information online. It is not easy to identify a person online because they may not be who they say they are. If it is someone who personally knows your child, they do not have to ask for their personal information through the Internet. Remind your child to talk to you first if they find anything suspicious.
Assure Your Child That You Will Not Overreact
Tell them you know that the Internet is a great place, but you still need to look out for them. They should know how to open up to you, so inform them not to keep it if something worries them.
Let your child be aware that you are interested in every aspect of their life and that you would like to discuss the things that they encounter online and what sites and apps they go to. You can also share the things that you see online. Understand that they will be going online to research about their schoolwork.
Worrying About Online Safety
There are times when you feel worried about the online safety of your child. If you do not know what to do, check the following things that can help you.
You are worried that your child may be:
- Sharing personal information - discuss with your child about what they can safely share online, such as their hobbies and interests. Explain the things that are considered as personal information. Tell them that they would not give out this information to people that they do not personally know in real life.
- They may be comfortable in sharing their thoughts online with their friends, but they must be careful on doing this with strangers. Some people may just be pretending to be someone else, so anything you share online could be used against you.
- Sharing inappropriate photos - discuss with them the things that they share online and if they are aware of who has seen the photos. Ask if they would be glad for someone to see the photo, or if they think a person they admire would share a photo like that.
- Tell them that they must always carefully think about the things they share. Once they have posted it online, they cannot control what would happen to it. Agree upon what types of photos they can and cannot share, and ensure they understand the reason why.
- Children sometimes share photos as a joke or because of a dare, but tell them again that once they have shared it online, they do not have anymore power on who sees it, even if it only started as a joke. Agree on something such as looking at what they share for a period of time.
- Being bullied online - help your child remove the content that offends them and block the one who made the offense. Take some screenshots to serve as evidence. If you think it is necessary, contact your child’s school to inform them about the incident.
- Bullying others online - your child may not realize that they have bullied someone online. Tell them straight that this conduct is unacceptable and it is offensive, even if it is just online. Make your child understand how it feels to be on the other end of the bullying - being the victim. Ask what they would feel when someone does or says something mean to them.
Everyone knows that the Internet can be a dangerous place, so it is important to teach your children about online safety.